RCMP say fatal Econo Lodge fire believed to be arson

Fatal fire arson: RCMP

Mounties in Prince George believe the fatal fire that claimed three lives at the Econo Lodge in downtown Prince George was arson. 

Cpl. Craig Douglass said at the time the fire was suspicious and the Serious Crime Section was brought in to lead the investigation. 

Alongside Prince George Fire Rescue, BC Office of the Fire Commissioner and North District RCMP, the serious crime unit believe the fire was deliberately set. 

On the morning of July 8, a room/balcony of the motel was visibly on fire with smoke barrelling out of the structure and numerous emergency crews were on scene. 

Fire crews found three people dead within the building at roughly 12:30 p.m.

On Saturday (July 11), police arrested a suspect as part of its investigation; they were released without charges as the investigation continues. 

"Police are unable to comment further at this time," a release says.

"However we are taking all necessary steps to advance this investigation in the interest of public safety."

Douglass says a criminal negligence investigation has also been launched after reports that fire alarms did not sound in the building when the fire happened. 

"Both of these complex investigations are continuing and are a priority for the detachment," he added. 

The BC Coroners Service is also conducting an investigation to determine who died, how, where, when and by what means they came to their unexpected deaths. Due to privacy, the names of those who died will not be released. 

The scene was then handed over to the insurer of the building on July 12. 

Douglass says further information will be shared once available.

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